Analyzing the Diffusion of Geospatial Technologies as Instructional Tools in High School Geography Education
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Twenty-first century education demands that students engage in innovative technologies in authentic learning environments. With a focus on keeping geographic learning current, the geography education community strives to diffuse geospatial technologies (GST) into secondary geography education. However, these tools remain largely unused. This national study examined the current patterns of GST and decisions to use geospatial technologies as pedagogic enhancements by a sample of high school geography educators. Rogers’ (2003) Innovation-Decision Process and Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) research provided the two lenses for this study. These frameworks illustrate one model for the GST adoption process and provide insight into challenges to implementation beyond commonly known barriers to technology integration. Rogers’ (2003) process model is helpful in understanding the phases involved in accepting innovation and informing possible actions and decisions by secondary geography educators. The findings of this research suggest that the phases may not be a sequential progression as identified in earlier innovation diffusion studies. According to Mishra and Koehler (2006), teachers exhibit sustained, integrative technology use when they develop a combination of three knowledge sets: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). The current investigation revealed significant associations among the data with an emphasis on the importance of teachers’ geospatial TPCK (G-TPCK) and its influence on the diffusion of GST in high school geography classrooms.